Cobblers chairman Kelvin Thomas has announced details of the club’s first supporters’ charter, saying he wans the club ‘to be seen as leaders in supporter consultation’.
The charter outlines the club’s ‘commitment to engage with and listen to the views and opinions of supporters’, and is headed by the club’s mission statement, which is ‘To be an open football club that gives all supporters a voice and encourages support and engagement throughout’.
Thomas has explained the club have been working with the Northampton Town Supporters Trust, stakeholders and the EFL over the charter.
“We have been in discussions with a cross section of the Northampton Town fan base and our Supporters Trust for some time now and our collective view is that this is an extremely important policy for the club moving forward, “ said the Cobblers chairman.
“Northampton Town want to be seen as leaders in supporter consultation.
“We have also discussed our suggested approach with the EFL, who are committed to helping clubs increase fan engagement levels and they are incredibly supportive.”
Thomas has been in charge of the Cobblers since last November, when he and his associates rescued the club from the brink of going out of business.
The chairman has always been keen to keep the club’s supporters as involved as possible in what is happening at Sixfields, and this charter is the next step.
The full details of the ‘Supporters Engagement Charter’ are as follows:
To be an open football club that gives all supporters a voice and encourages support and engagement throughout
The club wants to sho their commitment to supporters by formalising an engagement policy. This policy is designed to ensure that supporters feel they have a part to play in strategy and decision making.
It is a policy to encourage trust and communication between all stakeholders in the club. It is to show a positive ‘working together’ attitude which will make the football club stronger.
Supporters Advisory Panel: Create and develop a Supporters Advisory Panel. Meet three times per year formally with additional informal discussions. Panel to be open to all and to include a cross section of the fanbase.
Structure and organisation will be developed by the group in a co-operative manner.
Open Fans Forum: At least two open fans forums per year to be organised by the supporters trust and attended by senior management of the football club.
Open Door Policy: Club staff will operate an open door policy so there is open communication through all channels, to include senior staff.
Open Training Sessions: Two open training sessions per year
Meet The Chairman: Commitment to at least two full days per year for supporters to ‘meet the chairman’ one on one, or in small groups for a coffee and a chat.
Social Media: Two social medial Q&As per year with the chairman on the club’s official social media channels
Additionally, the club agree to work closely with the official Supporters Trust:
Trust Board Meetings: Commitment to meet with the board of the Supporters Trust at least four times per year to include, but not limited to, the open fans forums. Two places on the supporters advisory panel will be dedicated for Supporters Trust members.
Thomas continued: “Since we have taken over I think we have shown a very open and honest approach and as a club we place a great deal of importance on the views and opinions of all supporters and stakeholders.
“So we wanted to formalise that commitment with this document.
“Our aim is to build further a relationship of trust between everyone who has the interests of this club at heart, and everyone who wants to see Northampton Town Football Club progress and flourish.
“We will all have different views on how that happens, but that’s okay, as this is about providing the forum for everyone to understand and respect all those different views.
“By us all adopting a positive, ‘working together’ attitude we feel we are best placed to achieve that and this charter explains to supporters how they can make sure their voice is heard, but this is very much a two way process.
“We all go through the ups and downs of a Saturday afternoon together, so it makes sense for us all to talk about it together too.
“Whether it be at an open forum, as part of the supporters advisory panel, through our open door policy, a meet the chairman or senior staff event, a social media Q&A or simply by calling or emailing any of the staff, we want feedback from supporters.
“That is key to the success of this charter, and we are pleased to place this commitment on record.
“We would also like to thank the 300-plus supporters who completed the online survey from the Supporters Trust on the current Whole Game Solution proposals.
“The results of that survey, together with the comments provided, helped form our response and were passed on to the EFL.”
A spokesman from the Northampton Town Supporters Trust said: “We welcome dialogue between the football club and the Supporters’ Trust, and are looking forward to hearing about this in more detail in the coming months.
“A healthy dialogue between the club and supporters is something we know the whole Cobblers fanbase is very passionate about.”
Details of the supporters advisory panel will be released in the coming weeks.